The last week of classes went down exactly as you’d expect from Sciences Po: strikes, studying and stress. Faced with three finals and two presentations, Monday was spent actually studying in the library for the first time just to shift a little bit of my absolute mountain of work. Steph and Claire, who had abandoned me for the weekend (thanks guys) saved me from Monday study with a catch up chat over coffee. I swapped stories about my three very similar days at home for their tales of Paris and London and tried not to get too jealous.
Just when I thought this exchange couldn’t get any more French, Léa got a message that night from her friends who had attended the GA at school. By a majority of just five people, the Sciences Po students had decided to occupy the amphitheatre, and all of a sudden my two exams the next day were looking as though they might not happen at all! Just after 8.30pm, the blocus was in full effect, and the protesters were cut off from the rest of the school. Administration declined to negotiate, so the protesters spent the night surrounded by security with little access to food, water or amenities.
The next morning, still having heard nothing official from administration, students began lining up outside the doors to the university which remained closed for the first class of the morning. Confused crowds of students and teachers alike waited for the regular updates from the administration representative every 20-30 minutes or so. As we waited for the administration to make a decision they had been mulling over since 8.30pm the night before, some classes began taking exams in the brasserie across the street.
However, any happy dreams of a day free from exams were cut short as they reluctantly opened the school again at 10am, 10 minutes before my first test of the day. Security proceeded to take any food or water being taken into the school (nice job guys there are drinking fountains and vending machines at literally every corner of the campus) to make sure that the protesters, still locked in the amphitheatre, wouldn’t have any access to food or drink.
Two essays and a presentation later, Steph, Claire and I spent the afternoon ‘revising’ for the next day’s exam in the Champagne Parks, around 20 minutes walk from school. Blocus and protesters forgotten, we spent the afternoon ignoring work (or Steph’s boyfriend), eating eclairs and people watching. (pics below!)
The rest of the school week was very much the same: an early starts, a presentation and two more exams, mixed in with ‘study sessions’ with mates and too many muffins myrtilles from OMA coffee. We spent Thursday evening at Le Clos, drinking wine and celebrating Dan’s birthday, which provided a much needed break in studying for the french exam I had the following day.
Save a house party that I didn’t stay long at and a girls’ pre-drink that wasn’t long enough, the rest of the weekend was pretty boring. By Sunday night I was drowning in takeout boxes (rip exchange budget) and tearing my hair out at my own talent for procrastination that had let me go a whole weekend at home without writing a single word of the 2,500 word paper I had due on Tuesday. (Update: it has been finished and submitted!)
french phrase of the week: avoir des fourmis – pins and needles (literal translation: ‘to have ants’ which is the cutest thing I’ve ever heard) which I have had for the past week because I literally haven’t moved from my desk